FAYETTEVILLE — Second baseman Robert Moore was Friday’s hero for the No. 1-ranked Razorbacks.
He hit a pair of two-run home runs to win it for the Hogs 7-6 and avoid a loss to Murray State. Moore had three hits on the day, but he didn’t want to take credit for the win.
“Well our pitchers always give us us a chance to win,” Moore said. “Kevin (Kopps) coming in there getting a couple of big outs and (Zack) Morris shutting down that one inning and (Jaxon) Wiggins and a couple of more guys. Our pitchers always gave us a chance to keep us in the game. So luckily we were able to scrap across a few runs but that’s been the story the whole year. Every time we’ve been down our pitchers make pitches and give our offense a chance to win.”
Moore hit both his home runs to right-center field on Friday, but he said that wasn’t necessarily what he was trying to do.
“I’m really good when I try to hit a ball as hard as I can straight up the middle.” Moore said. “Whenever I try to hit home runs, I’m not very good. Whenever you stick with the approach, stick, with the game plan that Coach (Nate) Thompson gives us it usually works out pretty well. The whole thing about this is getting your best swing off and giving yourself a chance.”
Friday’s game wasn’t the first time Arkansas came back in the late innings to capture a win. Moore talked about the attitude in the dugout when the team trails late.
“I think it’s the mark of a good team, we’re always calm,” Moore said. “The truth of the matter is if we hadn’t scored in the eighth we would have believed we would have scored in the ninth. And like I said, our pitching keeps us in games and as long as your pitching keeps you in games you have a chance to eventually tie it and win it. So through our bullpen, the offense and the guys on the bench everyone is so calm. Most everyone’s been here awhile and been in big games before. So it’s not everyone’s first rodeo.”
The Hogs trailed 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth when Moore hit his game-winning home run.
“I believe I got a hanging slider,” Moore said. “He threw it 0-0 and I took it and I remember thinking that was the pitch to hit. So with sidearm guys as a left-hand hitter everything tries to come into you. So as long as you get the barrel out you have a good chance. Just keep your bat speed on everything. They are trying to get us on weak contact, maybe a rollover, so keep your bat speed.”
Kopps came in and picked up the win. He kept the Hogs close enough for Moore’s home run to win it.
“Koppsie when he runs out there we always expect him to get the job done,” Moore said. “He’s really hard to hit. I don’t think we hit him at all in our fall and spring scrimmages. So anytime he steps out there we know he’s going to get the job done. Kevin has been here and done that and he was able to get us out of the jam and give us a chance. Kevin is the fireman and he’s fun to be around. He’s our captain. We voted him captain again and everyone loves Kevin and we believe in him to get the job done.”
Wiggins, a true freshman, came into the game in the ninth and recorded the save. He faced three hitters and retired each of them including striking out the final two. He has faced nine hitters in three games and no one has reached base. He has struck out seven of them.
“You can throw Wiggins in any situation ever and he would probably do a good job,” Moore said. “That guy is hard to hit.”
Moore is hitting .344 on the season with three home runs and has knocked in eight runs.
Arkansas and Murray State will play game two of the series today with the first pitch set for 1 p.m.